Having a pool in your backyard can be great fun. However, it can be hard to have an amazing lawn and a clean pool. Grass can easily get into the pool and cause problems! Ideally, you already know it’s better to have a grass-free area around your pool. This guide is for both the unprepared and the holes in the best-laid plans. Since you can’t help getting some grass into the water, how do you get it out? This guide will answer all your questions!
How to Keep Grass Out of Your Pool When Mowing
Now that you know why grass should not be in your pool (and why you shouldn’t ignore grass that sneaks in), what can you do about it? Here are a few easy things you can do to keep grass from getting in your pool in the first place.
Get a Pool Cover
One of the easiest ways to prevent grass from getting into your pool is to buy a pool cover. If you live in an area with 4 seasons, you might already have one (and should invest in one if you have not already. While not perfect, this will keep the vast majority of grass, leaves, and other debris from falling into your pool.
Don’t forget to clean your pool cover before you take a swim! Otherwise, everything on top of the cover might fall into the water.
Use a Lawn Mower Bag
Another practical solution that you might already have on hand is a lawn mower bag. These keep grass clippings off of your lawn and out of your pool. You probably already have one, but if you don’t, a pool is a great reason to buy one!
Invest in a Mulching Mower
The name is a little misleading. This machine does not make mulch. Instead, it processes grass blades (and leaves) so finely that they become compost for your lawn on the spot. The resulting dust can still blow around, but most of it goes right back into your lawn. It nullifies the threat.
Wipe Your Feet
This is less about mowing and more of a general tip: wipe your feet before going into your pool. All the mowing measures in the world will not protect your pool from grass clippings that sneak in on your feet! If you need a mat or rug to remind you, do that.
How to Get Grass Out of the Pool
No matter how vigilant you are, there will always be some grass that drifts into your pool. Here is how to get rid of it. Bear in mind that some of these tasks may take a while.
Use a Skimmer
After mowing your lawn, always use a skimmer to clean any grass out of your pool. It may take a few hours to get all of it out, but it’s better than having algae!
Purchase a Leaf Rake
This tool is not what it sounds like. A “leaf rake” is not a rake; it is a specialized net for cleaning your pool. Run the leaf rake along the bottom of your pool, careful not to scrape it. If you do this right, you should be able to create a small current of water that lifts any debris up and into your net, making it easy to catch. Do this as many times as necessary. If you have a deep pool, you may need another pole to extend it to the bottom.
Check Your Filter
The filter on your pool exists to keep things like grass from becoming major problems. Check the filter immediately after mowing your lawn to make sure it is doing its job. You should run your pool filter for approximately 8 hours a day (which you can break up however you choose). Cartridge filters should be replaced every 1–2 years, but check them once a month, just in case.
To check your pool filters, put a scoop or two of diatomaceous earth (DE) into your skimmer. Swirl it around in the water. If the water coming out of your pool jets looks cloudy, you have a filter problem. If the PSI in your pool is higher than it should be, that is another sign of a filter problem.
Although the exact type of filter may vary with your pool, many of them have similar instructions:
- Turn off the pump before attempting to examine or replace your filter.
- Remove the plug from the filter to let the water drain.
- If you have a cartridge filter, look at the cartridge—the folded part. If that is all that needs cleaning, you don’t need to buy a new filter!
- If your cartridge is especially dirty, you may need to buy filter cleaner. Follow the instructions to clean your filter. A garden hose should be enough to rinse it. Things may be different for DE or sand filters.
- Replace any other needed parts.
- Reassemble your cartridge filter.
- Check the PSI to make sure it is normal for your pool. 10–25 PSI is typical, but this varies. If the PSI is higher than usual, you still have a problem.
You may also need to do some plumbing to change your filter. Since you shouldn’t need to replace your cartridge more than once a year, it may be worth calling a professional to do this task if you are not handy. A DE filter requires cleaning at least once a month. Whatever you have to do to check or repair your filter, it’s worth it.
Vacuum the Bottom
Finally, vacuum the bottom of your pool to get rid of any debris. You will need a special pool vacuum cleaner for this. Most home improvement stores will have them.
After using all of these methods, the bottom of your pool should look good as new! Prevention is always best, but anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Why Shouldn’t I Have Grass in My Pool?
But why shouldn’t you let grass clippings get into your pool? Is it such a big deal that it has to be dealt with immediately after you mow? The simple answer is “yes!”
Some readers probably saw this point and immediately thought something along the lines of “because it’s dirty and/or unattractive.” Both are valid reasons for not wanting grass in your pool. However, these are superficial reasons for not wanting grass and leaves in your pool.
Grass clippings that fall into the water die and decompose quickly. This process releases chemicals and phosphates that encourage algae to grow in your pool. And if you use any chemicals on your lawn, you probably do not want them in your pool water. Remove any grass clippings immediately after mowing to avoid any of these complications
The Grass is Growing Inside the Pool! What Do I Do?!
It’s uncommon, but grass can grow inside your pool. Technically, the grass is growing inside your vinyl pool liner. This is most common with hard types of grass such as nutgrass or Bermuda grass, which can puncture vinyl with ease. Growth like this can cause leaks in your pool, so what can you do about it?
Landscaping fabric is your best friend. Check your pool for any leaks, then cover the ground beneath your pool with landscaping fabric to kill any grass or weeds. Patch as needed, and consider a Gorilla Pad to protect your pool from these intruders (as well as rocks, weeds, and anything else).
After making sure that all the weeds and grasses are gone, change the substance beneath your pool to something like rocks or cement. This will also prevent the infamous “dead grass smell,” which smells vaguely like feces.
Grass clippings in your pool aren’t just unpleasant to look at—they’re unhealthy. Any grass that happens to fall into your pool could lead to algae, bacteria, or chemicals that you do not want. And, while creating a perimeter of a substrate that isn’t grass helps, there isn’t a surefire way to keep all of it out.
There are some things you can do while mowing your lawn to prevent grass from getting into your pool. Covering your pool and using a lawn bag are two of the easiest solutions. If you have the drive and money, it may be worth investing in a mulching mower to reduce the chance of grass getting into your pool and fertilizing your lawn. Finally, wipe your feet so that you don’t track any grass in!
After mowing, be sure to skim or vacuum your pool for any stray blades of grass. If you have to, change the pool filter. And if the grass is growing inside your pool, take this opportunity to use landscaping fabric and re-carpet your pool area with rocks.
Many sites act like everybody plans to get a pool with all the landscaping figured out. We know that not everybody is a professional and that there is no time like the present to fix a mistake. That is why we will encourage you to put a path of approximately 36” around the area of your above-ground pool here.